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Gastonia pool needs lifeguards to open, serve community over the summer

Lineberger Pool in Gastonia would typically see 300 to 400 people on a hot summer day, but for now, the pool is closed until it can hire enough lifeguards.

GASTONIA, N.C. — Charlotte area pools are seeing the impacts of a lifeguard shortage heading into the summer.

Lineberger Pool in Gastonia is closed until further notice because it doesn’t have enough lifeguards to fill the chairs and watch over the pool.  

“Our goal is to get open for the summer,” Andy Stahr, assistant director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Gastonia, said. “This is the only municipal pool that we have open for the summer for the citizens of Gastonia, so we want to make sure that we serve them.”

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Kids can still enjoy the city’s splash pads, but the Lineberger Pool needs to ideally have 20 lifeguards on staff to be able to stay open seven days a week, Stahr said.

The Parks and Recreation department is asking people of all ages to go through the lifeguard training and apply.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pools could be closed this summer because of a lifeguard shortage

"We're asking people to come and serve the community,” Stahr said. “Retirees, it's a great job to work for retirees or anybody, even people who want to be lifeguards on weekends or help out in the evenings just to open the pool for the community."

Stahr said Lineberger Pool would typically be the place where the community comes to beat the heat in the summer, but it can’t open unless it is done safely with the appropriate staff in place.

"We need you to help save the summer for the community,” Stahr said.

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The lifeguard shortage is an issue that is being seen across the country.

"Out of the 309,000 parks and pools it'd be about a third of them that will not be able to open,” Wyatt Werneth, with the American Lifeguard Association, told NBC News.

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Shan Rumfelt, president of Trident Pool Group, which staffs Lineberger Pool and others in the Charlotte area, told WCNC Charlotte in an email that lifeguard wages have increased 30-40% since the pandemic and recruiting efforts have doubled and tripled. However, lifeguard training classes are backlogged and many new hires are waiting up to a month to become certified.

Rumfelt said scholarships are often offered to offset the cost of becoming certified.

Anyone who is interested in applying for a lifeguard position can do so at cltlifeguard.com.

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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